I love sea and what it has to offer for my dinner. There is a saying in Turkey for people like me but will be lost in translation: “she/he would eat anything from the sea even if it was  her/his dad”. This plant is one of those things. Not exactly out of the sea bottom but so close to the sea that you can taste it. Because it soaks up all the salt from it.

I have not been able to find in the US no matter where I look. Wiki says this plant is called glasswort or samphire and we call “Deniz borulcesi”. It grows in the marshy area near sea and harvested around spring and the beginning of summer. If you let the time pass by, it gets saltier with each passing week until you harvest it. It might remind you a bit of seaweed but it is much softer. It is a wonderful meze, or salad on its own. It takes a bit of work if you have tons of it since there is a hard core in the middle that needs to be pulled out and separated from the flesh.




It might come with some dirt on the roots, just wash and clean it out, cut the very tough, root parts. Try to leave it all one intact branch (like the one pictured above) instead of bunch of little branches since it is easier to clean that way. The cooking part goes something like this: Boil a pot of water with a bit of vinegar  (no salt), add the plant and bring it to a boil again. Cook until the plant is soft enough to pull the core out. Drain, let it cool. Then separate the flesh and core by holding the tough end and stripping the flesh.

Mix several cloves of mashed garlic and good bit of red wine vinegar with the glasswort. Cover it tightly and let it rest in the fridge for a day. Before serving, drizzle plenty extra virgin olive oil and serve cold. No need to salt.

This dish is the first thing I order if I am at a seafood restaurant on the Aegean coast. I crave more than the usual in the US because I know I cannot find. Maybe if we lived in a coastal town, I would have asked around or try to find it myself. If you, coastal town friends, find something like this around your marsh areas, please let me know. Especially if you are in NC/SC coastal line, I would drive up to get it.





  1. by Turkey's For Life
    2:05 pm
    Jul 6, 2014

    Awww, so glad you found some then. Bet there is some in the US. Apparently, samphire (UK) was big amongst coastal people in Britain and then fell by the wayside. It’s almost fashionable again now because of Rick Stein (our TV seafood chef) banging on about it. Good on him. We love it and always order it when we see it and we do buy it from the pazar when we see it. It’s now expensive in the UK as it’s seen as a new fashion food, when all people need to do is put their boots on, get to the coast and pick some!! :)
    But anyway, still great for you that you tasted the sea again. :)

  2. by Ilke
    2:10 pm
    Jul 6, 2014

    And it was cheap! 1 YTL per bunch! So no need to tell you that we have spent the night cleaning those bunches because we could not stop buying ! I think I will stop at 3 bunches from now on :)

  3. by Ozlem's Turkish Table
    5:20 pm
    Jul 6, 2014

    Merhaba Ilke!:) Lovely to see your post, enjoy those amazing deniz borulcesi : ) we love it too, though much expensive here – cok sevgiler, Ozlem

  4. by ela@GrayApron
    1:49 pm
    Jul 8, 2014

    I would be very curious how this taste, if I see some anywhere, I’ll know what to do with them! Thanks!

    ela h.

  5. by Angie (@angiesrecipess)
    2:36 pm
    Jul 8, 2014

    I have never seen this plant interesting..if it’s similar to seaweed, then I will enjoy it too.

  6. by John@Kitchen Riffs
    11:38 am
    Jul 9, 2014

    What an interesting plant! I’ve never heard of it. Might be worth your time to check with a botanist (or maybe an oceanographer?) at your local university to see if they know if there’s a coastal source near you. Anyway, fun dish — thanks.

  7. by Ilke
    4:59 pm
    Jul 9, 2014

    That is a very good suggestion John, thank you!

  8. by irene
    9:52 am
    Jul 11, 2014

    Love this post…..when I’m in Izmir at the ‘pazar’ I see these greens for sale. Couldn’t figure out what they do with them in cooking….and always forget to ask my husband what is it??? I was with my sister in law Muge once but with my Turkish, I couldn’t explain well and she said…cok guzel. ok well I figured it was good then coming from here..but she never cooked it for us. I’ll be in Izmir in Sept….but I guess the season will be over. Thanks again for this post….it clarified this ‘pazar’ mystery for me.

  9. by Meltem
    2:04 pm
    Aug 7, 2014

    HI Ilke,
    First I have to say that I love your blog! Please keep on writing.
    Just like you, I love samphire and can’t get enough of it so try to eat as much as I can when visiting Turkey. I’m sure you have seen the “canned” type that comes in glass jars. If you haven’t tried it yet, in my humble opinion, don’t even bother. They are cooked to death and are quite mushy. But good news is that I was able to find it several times in a Harry’s Farmers Market in GA. Not sure if they carry it al the time but there is hope :))

  10. by Ilke
    2:48 am
    Aug 8, 2014

    Meltem, thank you so much for your nice words.

    I will keep an eye on those canned types if the craving gets so bad, thanks for letting me know. Nothing beats the fresh out of sea but if there is no other option , I might buy anyway :)

  11. by Terra
    1:48 pm
    Aug 19, 2014

    Yay, HI Ilke!!!!! It is wonderful to see your posts on social media, you seem so happy!!! I love getting to learn about food I have never tried. I have seen this lovely plant before on tv, but really had no idea about it. Thanks for sharing! Sending hugs your way, Terra

  12. by rebecca
    11:02 pm
    Aug 30, 2014

    tried it for the first time recently in England

*: required fields

Leave a Comment

Read the fine print

By submitting a comment you grant Ilke's Kitchen a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate and irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin’s discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.